How to self-promote.

You want to do all you can to promote yourself. 

How to do it is a complicated and difficult job.

The producers – through the casting directors and the agents – keep a pretty tight rein on how much you can do. It’s considered a no-no to bypass the casting system and send your own tape directly to a producer.

Forty years ago you could drop into a casting director’s office and introduce yourself, but today that isn’t done.

You need to learn the accepted protocol for self-promotion and to develop new ones.

The old school way of sending cards still works. If you are doing something positive and active like: a play, booked a role in a movie, or a new agent, you can always send out cards letting your agent, directors and casting directors know. 

The card is a quick, positive reminder of you. 

Website, demo reel, photos, resume, short films, are all good, standard ways to make people aware of your work.

The straightforward presentation of your work is always the way to go. 

One agent told me that demo reels are more reactive than proactive, which means if a casting director wants to see your work on short notice then your demo reel serves that reactive purpose. Otherwise, they are too busy to watch it.

When festivals like TIFF get taken over by Hollywood as part of their campaign for the Oscars then a more hard sell, ‘American’ style networking takes place. 

The producers now have a new system where an actor’s popularity on social media counts in casting. They reckon this popularity will sell more tickets.

An example of how the producer’s interests are mixed in with actor’s promotion is the IMDb STARmeter and its award. This award recognizes actors and actresses deemed ‘fan favorites’ on IMDbPro’s STARmeter chart, which measures the search behavior of IMDb’s 250 million-plus monthly visitors. 

But self-promotion also includes participation and raises important questions like: how do you as a modern actor participate in the movie business? How do you take your place? Where is the opportunity to have your voice heard? What do you want your film community to be?

The intense competition for roles can drive you to desperation. Hysteria on red carpets, intense talk shows, outlandish behaviour of famous people are part of a culture offered to be emulated. 

See what best suits you.